Captain America: 'Poor Man's Process'
The other wrinkle is that Johnston insisted on not using previs, instead relying on storyboards and shot notes. "He liked to keep it loose so that on the day of shooting he could discover the best move," Townsend adds. "He likes to use a Techno crane or dolly and it meant that when we had to repeat the moves with Chris Evans and Skinny Steve, we would have to use video assist and playback and doing a live 50/50 mix to repeat it as accurately as possible. And then Lola would put the plates together as best they could. It is amazing what you can do and we called it 'Poor Man's Process' for motion control. But we had to solve it all in post."
Meanwhile, the other digital manipulation challenge was Hugo Weaving's super Nazi, Red Skull, which was handled by Framestore and then completed by Lola. Although designer David White constructed a brilliant red silicon mask for Weaving, it didn't fully project the desired creepy look. With manipulation of the prosthetic, however, they scaled it down and moved the nose in Photoshop. The look was then provided to Framestore, which tracked on the digital nose cavity replacement; thinned out the cheeks, hallowed them out, and made them look gaunt; thinned out his lower lip; and removed the eyelashes; squared up the chin; and tightened up the jaw line and any of the wrinkles that would appear in the prosthetic of the mask. "You still believe that it's Hugo Weaving and yet they managed to make him look less like a human, which I thought was interesting," Townsend concludes.
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. He has a new blog, Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), and is currently writing a book about the evolution of James Bond from Connery to Craig, scheduled for publication next year, which is the 50th anniversary of the franchise.